The world of books evens the playing field-- delivering truth, connectedness, and beauty across miles and generations. These are a few of my favorite reads that have inspired, shaped, and motivated me.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

"And So It Goes" - Linda Ellerbee

One of my earliest experiences with being duly
impressed by anyone in the media, let alone to the
point of considering them a role model, had to have been
Linda Ellerbee.

The stoic, even-paced, high-minded anchorwoman--
who had been the antithesis of glitzy and vapid fake
news that had already started filling the air waves in the 1980s--
was a stellar figure to me, and made a great impression.
Reading her autobiography in my teens was an equally
meaningful affair.

With evocative, deliberate, engaging words which
create a picture and tell a personal tale, Ellerbee's
written word is as formidable and hypnotic as her
speaking voice. Casual strength. Reserved potency.

Her riveting--and quite revealing--look of the behind the scenes
television market over a lengthy career made for some
shocking insights. Remarkably, Ellerbee stimulates you with
the personal nature of her victories, her tragedies, and her
attacks without becoming a victim or a martyr. It's all
just as matter-of-fact as the protagonist's signature
"And so it goes."

Even now, a few decades later, there is much that can be learned from
the pragmatism and style of this gracious humorist and observer!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

"Comfort and Joy" by Jim Grimsley

"Comfort & Joy" is a novel that continues the story of
Dan Crell--(from Grimsley's "Winter Birds")--
a southerner with a hard past who's known poverty
and all that is linked to such an origin. The holiday setting is
prominent as, in both flashbacks and the present, Dan and his
upper crust partner, Ford, are dealing with the demands
of a relationship in conjunction with career, family obligations,
and awkward uncertainty about pursuing intimacy.

Packed with nuance and character, "Comfort & Joy" is
not--contrary to the title, in the best of contradictory manners--
a happy feel-good piece. It's unpredictable, human, complicated,
and real. Things don't go smoothly, people don't act as we would like,
and not all the answers come rushing in at appropriate times.
Thank goodness.

The conflicts arise from a variety of sources, including
a class divide in the two men and varying degrees of
contentment with their own sexuality. Throw into the mix
the normal difficulties of two men being in love (aptly
outlined here in both inner monologues and fight
sequences,) as well as an HIV diagnosis, and there
is a plenitude of engaging material.

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